Sunday, February 28, 2010

weights and measures and vinyl

It seems to me that I went about this losing-some-weight-thing all wrong, terribly wrong, in fact.

What I tried turned me into a snarling hard-to-be-with grump . . . and, I know what you are thinking - how did anybody notice a difference from my usual self?

Well, I was grumpy, really grumpy, even for me.

You see, what I tried to do was consume lots of fruits and vegetables . . . but biologically speaking, I am not a lemur, and hence the disruption to my normal bodily functioning and subsequent added cantankerousness.

Going back two weeks and thinking about my diet, it was interesting to find that I had consumed next to no carbohydrates or proteins. I know now that my body does not function well, or pretty much at all, without vast quantities of both of these essential bio fuels.

Once recognized, I immediately got out a small chart and began following Canada’s food guide (not Africa’s - too many mashed insects), and found that I needed a whole whack of grains and some dairy and meat-type products each day.

And do you know what?

I’m feeling my old grumpy self again (the tolerable one) and less the new grumpy self (the intolerable one).

Despite this minor setback, how is my plan of losing unnecessary bulk progressing?

So far, so good. I’m dumped almost 5 pounds in two weeks and still have all my limbs.

During my weight adjustment procedures I also shattered another myth about the appropriate way to reduce said bulk. I used to always say, quite smugly I might add, that if a person wanted to lose weight all a person needed to do was “exercise more, eat less.”

This, my friends, is utter bullshit!

Here is the naked reality - “exercise more, eat just as much, but make sure it’s the right just as much.”

That’s all there is to it. So, with that in mind, I’ve started a program (I have time now) of going for an hour walk each day come rain, shine, snowstorm, windstorm, or whatever and will follow Canada’s food guide. I start that program in earnest tomorrow, which brings me to my writing plans and how they are shaping up . . .

Unlike my aging body, my novel ‘Typhoon Rising’ needs to put on weight to become a full-fledged novel. I have cleaned off my writing lair’s kitchen table (I got it for five bucks at a yard sale - and yes, I think it originally came from the “Leave it to Beaver” set), and have paper, pencils, erasers, red pens and just about anything else I may need to get the job of a third, and hopefully last draft, done before victims volunteer readers will get a look at it for final, helpful suggestions. I need to add roughly ten thousand words and have plans to do just that. It really won’t be too hard I think, and over the next three months I will be working maniacally toward that end.

Which now brings me to another discovery I made this week. I found out how to transfer my old vinyl albums to digital without shelling out for special gadgets. This has filled me with childish glee. Now, the two hundred plus albums I have (mostly 80's pop delights - well, delights for me anyhow) I can turn into mp3s for my listening and writing pleasure. So far I’ve added some Billy Idol, Nik Kershaw, Men at Work, and Bananarama to my digital collection . . . Yes, I may have a slight love of music from that era - sue me!

And the whole process was cobbled together with equipment and gizmos I already had around the house - so the total cost to convert my vinyl to digital was precisely zero dollars - my kind of price tag!

I see, once again, that I have exceeded my rambling space for the week, so will cut out of here and likely go convert another album . . . Hmm, maybe Rush, or Paul Young!

Until next Sunday . . .

Sunday, February 21, 2010

make mine a triple

All batteries need recharging - unless they are those alkaline throwaway types - shame on you if you are still using them!

But I refer to my own levels of energy and how they need a boost these days. I’ve been finding the writing grind, well, sort of, a grind the past week or so.

It may just be the ‘final draft’ jitters as in - "holy crap, I’m actually going to have a viable, saleable novel soon" - causing me to stall a wee bit. I am not, nor have I ever been, a perfectionist, so that can not be the problem for the stumbling.

Self doubt?

Hmm, could be. I usually take the inner critic two falls out of three, but this time he seems to be vying for the belt - damn him, damn him to hell!

But, enough of that exposition of inner turmoil - suffice to say that no matter what comes along to hinder me, I’m forging ahead with the third and final draft (before the fourth and even more final polish) of my novel ‘Typhoon Rising’. I would so love to post later this year - “I SOLD IT” . . .

. . . So, if you and I ever want to see that blog heading before 2058, I guess I better tap the reserve battery packs, use the illegal nut-cracker fighting technique on the inner critic, and just get to it.

I am also going to be in for a grueling and physically challenging week ahead. I made the mistake of checking the weather forecast this morning, and it promised “heaps upon heaps” of back-breaking snow - pretty much falling from the sky all week long without letup.

I don’t have a snow blower, or a flame thrower, or a teenage neighbour who likes to work for peanuts (do teenagers work at all anymore, for anything?), so I’ll be doing the manual labour thing myself amid cursing, grunting, and shoveling like a bat out of the Arctic . . .

. . . and, with regret, I’ve had to turn on comment moderation for every post here. Seems that “losers” are getting good at fooling the software designed to avoid them and sneaking sex link and advertising crap into my blog comments. So, if you are legit, you will see a delay as I review your post and decide if you are human, or one of those blighted, arse-licking, dog-breathed, waste-of-space, spammer A-Holes . . .

And speaking of the Olympics, which I wasn’t but it’s just how my mind navigates reality, I have seen one Austrian woman (girl? - they look so damn young to my aging eyes) go down a ski hill - and that was purely by accident at the library while waiting for my daughter to pick out a book.

I guess I’m just not a trending kind of guy. Or patriotic. Yes the winter Olympics are in Canada this year, and yes I’m Canadian, but, um, well whatever . . .

I get more excited about reading the Well series by Chalker than watching “amateur” (don’t get me started on this one) athletes doing things that cause my muscles to ache just looking at them.

And who is this Lady GaGa anyhow? If she is in the loop, thank somebody that I am not. Give me weird Al any day over this new and disturbing trend in, um, music icons?

Well, my time has expired. I’ll just go plug myself in now and get powered up for the writing sessions I’ve planned, and wait for the snows to fall fast and heavy . . .

Until next Sunday . . .

Sunday, February 14, 2010

still the void listens

I sometimes wonder who actually spends time reading this? I’ve blogged before about how some 70,000 blogs are created per minute, and quite frankly, who has the time to try and find one they like, and even if they do, how long do the hang around?

Not complaining at all, so don’t get me wrong, but I do wonder all the same.

It appears, looking at my stats, that the two blog posts that get the undisputed “most attention” here are the Fastest Animals post and the Secret Ingredient in Tim Horton’s coffee post.

Hmm, must be what is most important here at the Twisted Mind, or perhaps what Google indexed the best?

Which, in non-Euclidian thinking, takes us directly to my writing update for the past little while.

Two things of note on that front.

First, I’ve completed the second draft of my novel ‘Typhoon Rising’ and it sits at a nice word count of 72,000. Though this is shy of the magical 80,000 plus, by the time I finish with the third draft if will weigh in nicely in the designated ‘novel length’ category of between 80,000 to 100,000 words.

Then, with a final forth draft polish, it will be off to sell these wares and scream into the void hoping that a publisher with an infinite probability drive will be traveling the galaxy, hear me, like my work, and decide to trade some cash for it.

Secondly, on the short story front I’ve now completed the second story of thirteen in my new pseudo-superhero series. I’m happy with it so far, and gearing up this week to start the third story. And so I stay on track for my goal of one-short-story-per-month.

And well, would you look at that - it’s Valentine’s Day!

We, my wife and I, are going out to dinner tonight at a great restaurant while our little one is going to a fun sleep over. This, is good for all of us.

And, in closing today, what unread blog post could truly be complete without the author springing a surprise guilty pleasure for those with the internal fortitude to wade all the way to the end of it?

So, my latest guilty pleasure - watching, and really liking, ‘Sabrina the Teenage Witch’ . . .

. . . and with that total loss of credibility, I’ll sign off and get back to writing fiction . . . okay, more fiction?

. . . Until next Sunday

Sunday, February 07, 2010

my dog died

many years ago.

In fact it was 1983, but I still think about him once in a while. He was the greatest pet a young boy could ever hope to have, and he was with me most of my developing years growing up.

He was a hodgepodge mixture of about twelve breeds including Poodle, Pekinese, Chihuahua and even German Shepard; a real mutt, but smart as a whip. He had a curly tail like a poodle, the colouring of a German Shepard and weighed in at 15 pounds. We named him Naughty. And yes, sometimes he could be. But most of the time he was just purebred awesome.

One of Naughty’s favourite tactics was to sit on our front porch and watch the birds in the yard, coexisting with him in peace until the second he realized we were observing him. At that moment of realization he would leap up, bound off the porch, bark furiously and with great gusto, and chase the birds away. Then, he would come strutting back to us as if to say - see masters, I’m on the job! Makes me laugh just thinking about it now.

And talk about a dog loving to play ball. He could go, literally, for hours at it and never tire out. I think it was the highlight of his little life. This dog, no exaggeration, could catch a ball in his mouth while at a full run, on uneven grass, with the ball bouncing unpredictably. I used to marvel at his acumen and precision in this feat of agility. I’ve not seen anything like it except those frisbee catching dogs you see at competitions. Uncanny, is another word I could use to describe his ball catching ability.

Anyhow, we had a park beside our house and a friend and I used to take him there for exercise. We would throw the ball back and forth, about 100 feet away from each other, and Naughty would tear as fast as he could pump his tiny little legs to retrieve it before one of us did. Sometimes he would be traveling so fast across the uneven ground he would lose it, wipe out and tumble for about twenty feet before regaining his legs and tearing at top speed again in search of his elusive round rubber pal.

Of course, by the time he arrived at one of us, we would have tossed the ball again and it would be heading back in the opposite direction. He would tear up the grass changing direction, and off he would speed again. Sounds like torture, but he loved it and would, on occasion, get the ball away from us. Then it would be our turn to chase him down. Great fun and great times.

There were rare times though, I still recall, when I would go out to play with him and all I would find was his collar on the end of the chain; he had managed to slip off it. Now I grew up in a small town so the reality is he would never get run over by a car, but at those times I would feel horrible, like something bad had happened to him or soon would if I didn’t find him. I would fetch his ball and leash and go looking for him, calling his name, and searching all over town.

I would eventually find him, and he would have been having the time of his little life sniffing everything and jumping on anything with a similar number of legs as himself . . . no, he was not, um, fixed.

Funny how pets really do become one of the family. And it is funny, after almost thirty years that I still think about the little guy and fell such love for him. I think it’s great for kids to grow up with pets.

One day, when finances allow, I think we will be getting a dog for my daughter. Time will tell, and for now Fluffy-the-rat continues to entertain us.

Until next Sunday . . .